Tributes flowed yesterday for top Melbourne barrister Peter Hayes, QC, whose mystery death is in the hands of the coroner, the Herald Sun reports.
The charismatic barrister died about 9.30pm on Monday with his family by his side in the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Solicitor and friend Michael Brereton said: “Everybody is terribly upset.
“It’s a dreadful tragedy and a huge loss, both professionally and personally.”
As friends and colleagues remembered an eccentric genius, some lawyers raised questions about drug use in the legal fraternity.
Solicitor Isaac Brott last night revealed he wrote to the Victorian Bar Ethics Committee in 2005 alleging Mr Hayes was a cocaine addict but the complaint — which labelled Mr Hayes a “lunatic” — was dismissed as vexatious.
“If the bar council had not dismissed my complaint, and my request to have him independently drug tested . . . he’d be alive today,” Mr Brott said.
He said he learned of Mr Hayes’ drug use from clients.
A bipolar sufferer with ailing health, Mr Hayes collapsed in his Stamford Plaza Hotel room overnight on May 10. His ex-bikie client Tony Sobey found him naked and unconscious the next morning.
Legal sources believe a woman contacted Mr Sobey and asked for help after Mr Hayes collapsed.
Police have charged a 28-year-old woman with administering Mr Hayes a drug of dependence and want to speak with a 21-year-old prostitute over his death.
Police are yet to obtain toxicology test results, but there is speculation amphetamines may have been in his system.